Meet Paula, Our Newest Viscera Artist
by Ari Takata-Vasquez
When I was a little girl, I always thought that I would be an artist, because it was the thing I loved doing the most. I would always be painting, making illustrations and studied with some amazing Chilean artists as I was growing up.
Even though I realized that I wanted to be an artist at an early age, as a young adult I decided to pursue a professional career as clinical therapist and integrate art and psychology.
My favorite places to go for inspiration are desertic or volcanic areas. I like the silence and energy of these places. I am attracted by the colors of the land: ochres, grays, mineral colors, how they change through the day, the natural textures found in the landscape and the mark of time on it. Growing up in Chile, I had the chance to go a few times to the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, and I remembered how those experiences influenced me deeply. In California, I have been to some National Parks like Lassen and Joshua Tree, where I found a similar landscape. But in general, when I need to get out of the studio for inspiration, I go on hike around the East Bay or along highway 1.
Explosion I is my favorite, because it was an unexpected surprise. At the time, I was experimenting with a new type of painting, and was fascinated by the mineral colors and chemical reactions that occurred by pouring one color into another, or by mixing the colors in a particular order. With this piece, I wanted to push further what I was learning and add movement to it. Playing with different layers of painting, the result was an explosion of mineral colors.
I was born and raised in Chile. I grew up enjoying and making art. Everybody around me thought that I was going choose Art or Arquitecture as a professional career, but I didn’t at that time. Instead I decided to study clinical psychology and kept my art studio practice. In 2001, I moved to San Francisco with my husband, worked at San Francisco General Hospital in the mental health field and at the same time discovered the effervescent art community in The Mission. I learned printmaking, participated in local art shows, and also did a Masters in Public Health at UC Berkeley. After six great years living in the Bay Area, two kids, graduate schools completed, I went back to Chile and worked as a clinical psychologist in the Maternal and Child field for many years. I went back to the art studio, and rediscovered my initial passion for painting that had been left to a secondary place while I was developing a clinical practice, studying, and raising three kids. In 2013, I came back to the Bay Area and decided to develop my art practice and pursue a dream that I had for many years.
Some of my favorite artists are Ruth Asawa, Agnes Martin, Anselm Kiefer and Yayoi Kusama.
This is an area where you can see and feel a creative enthusiam and sense of community that is very unique. I like all the different art venues and opportunities for artists, and how you can have access to art just by walking through the city.